With Spring around the corner let’s think about water.

A somewhat unusual pathway
A somewhat unusual pathway

We have all rather taken water for granted over the years. Today for some it is becoming a topic of conversation, for others it is a topic of concern, and for yet others they are not sure if or when they will see enough potable water again.

Many European countries have developed system to recapture and reuse water more than once, others have quite simple systems of returning water as quickly as possible back to the aquifer ( it’s still a long process).

North America is waking up to the idea that extended droughts mean much more serious water conservation, something South American countries have been struggling with for quite some time.

As homeowners there are a number of ways to help preserve our dwindling water supplies, some are very effective others not so, but as they say every little helps.

The simplest is, I suppose the rainwater barrel, it will collect up to 40 gallons of water ( which means it just needs about 1/3rd of inch of rainfall for each downpipes to fill one). It’s best to keep out of full sun as in hot areas the water could become rather too hot for use on plants.

water barrels

A slightly improved version of this would be a cistern, as seen below, they were often circular for strength. – this particular one would be quite costly.

Brick cistern

Today  a much more interesting wrapped interlocking framing system has been devised – the ground is excavated and a waterproof membrane is laid on the sub base then filled with rectangular ‘Versitanks’. – These tanks can be from very small single units to many hundreds as seen here.


These can be almost any size or shape.

To get the surface water to these storage vessels requires a few more modifications to the current surface water run off arrangements.

The first is a simple slot drain to divert the water from a surface, such as this car parking area.

Collecting water from a car park area

They can also be used at home to collect water from a driveway, here the downpipes will also be connected to the slot drain and probably then run to a soakaway.

House driveway

So what’s a soakaway? well most folks in England will know this, however my colleagues in the USA are just not as familiar with these simple victorian solutions to collecting water for returning to the aquifer.

brick rubble soaraway

In it’s simplest form all that is required is a hole filled with porous material – such as the brick version above. Drainage pipes run to this and water then is able to slowly seep back into the sub strata. ( Not a good idea in heavy clay soils as it will take way too long)

This much larger version is able to hold a huge amount of water, which can be reused for irrigation or just returned to the aquifer.

Larger version

The collection method from say a down pipe is quite simple, involving a gulley pot .

Gulley pot

A simple gulley pot is used to ‘grab’ the water before directing it to the drainage pipe. Below the gulley pot has a downpipe collector, and a slot drain collector and localized surface drain all in one unit.


Once the water has been collected it’s a simple matter to design a recycling system.

In it’s simplest form, often used by early Egyptians a localized storage vessel often made of clay was used right next to say a fruit tree.

localised watering

Next came a slightly larger arrangement, although if you try this remember water can heat up, this might not be healthy for plants…

water barrels

Finally a rather more sophisticated system that addresses many issues and is virtually hidden from view.

Complete system

This next system requires , quite a lot of time, planning and expense, but in warmer climates it is probably the future solution. Perhaps the lawn will need to be re thought as, it would seem to me that growing more fresh produce is a much wiser use of the space.

Complete system

Our web site www.grotrends.com will have details of our upcoming radio shows and podcasts on this subject, you may also visit iTunes for a recent show or www.growingtrends.org

Ann & Chris would love to hear from you with ideas and suggestions for the show, please drop us a line at info@grotrends.com

Author: Growing Trends

Hello, Welcome to Growing Trends. Ann and Chris are both horticultural experts. Ann is a native of Nebraska and a specialist in annuals, flowers and perennials, particularly from the Mid West I'm Chris an English landscape design and build specialist with over 40 years experience of designing,building,managing a wide variety of landscape projects, the team was rewarded with many award winning projects - from Residential, Schools, Parks,Chelsea Flower Show exhibits, to Green Roof Gardens for City Officescapes & Interiorscapes. It has all been hugely enjoyable and fun - even when fighting the weather or deadlines. Today we are developing a new ideas for the home owner ... recently we were awarded our second patent. Ann my Co Host and I, have launched a new one hour twice a day internet radio show called "Growing Trends" , it's available as a podcast on iTunes and at www.growingtrends.org . It's all about the people in our industry, for home owner's &,experts alike, with interviews from around the world from those experts , home owners that are passionate about their gardens , talking about latest trends, in styles, passions ,materials, products, plants, vegetables, wines, anything connected with enjoying outside spaces. In the last two or three years we have been developing some new tools for the home owner - www.picagardi.com and our app Picagardi ( free in iTunes and Google Play) have been specifically designed for the DIY young home owner who would like to develop a landscape or garden, without having any prior knowledge of plant arrangements etc. Our newly patented Weekend Garden Kits, enable almost anyone to place, plant and look after 'Designed' planting areas. Take a look at www.grotrends.com Our patented soil injector enables a wide variety of users to inject corn based super absorbent's to the root zone of established plants, enabling fertilizers, insecticides, etc., to be used in minimum dosages, with out leaching or run off and yet remain effective. With the added advantage of reducing watering by around 50%.

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